Gifts from Strangers
Loved the film. It was a great horror flick and surprisingly well put together.
Hello everyone, Kevin of Film Fervor here with you again bringing you another Independent film review from over the pond. Today we are talking about Gifts from Strangers written, directed and staring Marcus Caballero also staring John Sheppard, Sara Shenair and Viggo Anastarsi. It was produced by the prolific low budget studio Dead Good Film Like Productions many of whose films have I have already reviewed on the site.
Gifts from Strangers was filmed on a Micro budget of thirty pounds and takes the form of Found Footage with a bit of Vblogger mixed in lending a credible sense of realism in it’s horror setting. The Story centers around Brian (Marcus Caballero) a Video Blogger who is a major horror film fan who is sent a gift from an online friend (who also loves all things horror) and decides to unbox (Unboxing a the act of opening a package on camera, normally hardware or software and sharing it with your viewers) it on camera for his followers. The Gift was not what he suspected and a series of malicious pranks began to plague him, his roommate and his roommate’s girlfriend that culminates into a mind altering mania that leaves Brian changed forever.
As you know if you have read some of my previous reviews I am not a fan of Found footage style films as they are massively over done and generally poor quality, Gifts from Strangers however uses it in a very believable way with actual good quality camera work in color instead of the normal black and white. All of the angles used in the film’s set of a small British flat are used to enhance the feeling of a eerie presence always lurking just out of eye shot and the random hiccups and pauses in the footage reveals wonderfully done jump scares that even had me jump once or twice.
The acting on this low budget film was some of the best I have seen in a independent film by relative unknown actors just breaking into the scene. Each of the actors brought life into their characters that made them seem so much more real and even likable that you care about what is happening to them on screen. Marcus’s character of Brian for example was spot on for practically every semi professional Video Blogger I have ever witnessed and his slow descent into madness was perfectly portrayed and never over the top. Truly the act ting was one of the highest points of the film.
Another high point was the Audio quality done on their very limited budget. There was no break away nor static at all except in the places where it was supposed to be in for dramatic reasons and the Actors was clearly heard in all of their shots with none of the all to common drop off from facing away from the cameras. The musical score adds a creepy and sinister mood to the film that slowly builds in the proper places to give you a mounting sense of unease and is over all one of the best I have heard in a low budget film.
The special effects were all practically done and used clever usages of slowed time to cover up the fact the blows were not actually striking the actors and the two instances of bloody squick used were believable and done as well as possible given the fact the budget was so low. The use of masks and shadows help create the “Unseen” force plaguing the flat mates and in the low light shots comes off as extra creepy.
When all is said and done Gifts from Strangers starts off slow and I have to admit I had a hard time getting into it at first but as the time wore on I became more and more invested in the characters and it’s plot. By the end of the film I actually had to go back and watch it again (not just for the due diligence to give you an accurate review) because if you blink at the wrong moment you miss a little tidbit the Director leaves for you of which I wont spoil…You’ll have to find them yourselves. Running a little over Forty-Five minutes I would highly recommend this film to anyone who is a Horror fan and a supporter of Low and Micro budget films.